Isolation and characterization of cDNA clones corresponding to transcripts from the BamHI H and F regions of the Epstein-Barr virus genome

J Virol. 1987 Sep;61(9):2902-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.61.9.2902-2909.1987.


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) mutant P3HR1 is incapable of immortalizing B lymphocytes because of a 6.8-kilobase deletion in the BamHI W, Y, and H regions of the viral genome (M. Rabson, L. Gradoville, L. Heston, and G. Miller, J. Virol. 44:834-844, 1982). To characterize transcripts that are encoded in this region, poly(A)+ RNA from the EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell line JY was isolated, and this RNA was used to generate a cDNA library in lambda gt10. By screening 500,000 recombinant bacteriophages with the BamHI H fragment, we isolated 10 cDNA clones and characterized them in detail. One group of six cDNA clones was derived from a 2.9-kilobase early transcript encoded by the IR2 repeat element and showed restriction site polymorphism for the enzyme SmaI. The second group consisted of four cDNA clones, all of which contained the BamHI-H right reading frame (BHRF1), and used the polyadenylation signal at base pair 662 in the BamHI F fragment. Computer analysis of the hydrophobicity of the BHRF1 protein revealed that it is likely to be a membrane protein. Northern blotting experiments with RNA from an EBV producer line, B95-8, and a tightly latent lymphoblastoid B-cell line, IB4, revealed that BHRF1 is contained in at least two different mRNA species which can be detected during the latent cycle of EBV. These data and the recent characterization of a spliced transcript (containing five exons in common with other known latent messages [M. Bodescot and M. Perricaudet, Nucleic Acids Res. 14:7103-7113, 1986]) suggest that alternative splicing is used to generate transcripts containing BHRF1, as for the EBV nuclear antigen 1 transcripts. Furthermore, the observation that a potential oncogene activated in human follicular lymphomas is homologous to the BHRF1-encoded polypeptide (M. L. Cleary, S.D. Smith, and J. Sklar, Cell 47:19-28, 1986) suggests a possible role for this putative viral protein in EBV-induced growth transformation of B lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes / pharmacology*
  • Deoxyribonuclease BamHI
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Viral Proteins / analysis


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • DNA
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Deoxyribonuclease BamHI

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M17293
  • GENBANK/M17294